Skip to main content

Grateful Dead Live at Haight Street on 1968-03-03

Audio Preview

Grateful Dead Live at Haight Street on 1968-03-03

Topics Live concert

Viola Lee Blues, Smokestack Lightning, Turn On Your Love Light, It Hurts Me Too

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Haight Street
Location San Francisco, CA

Source Audience
Lineage AUD > Uher RR > DAT > DALCardDeluxe > WAV > CDR
Taped by Steve Brown
Transferred by Lance Michel, Raoul Duke, and Matt Vernon


1. These notes were from the original Owen Brothers Mastering

"Editing and CD mastering by the Chief Wizard -

All editing done on a Dell Optiplex GX300 - PIII(800) using Diamond Cut Millennium. When I recieved this DAT, it was mono left channel with some Led Zep that Steve had taped bleeding into the RC for the last third of the tape. I converted this to mono to get rid of the right channel bleed and converted to mono two channel to keep the cd players happy. This is the "Original" that I mastered to CD.

Then I addressed the speed change in Hurts Me Too by building a speed adjustment curve that approximated the battery death and tape slowdown. It is a fair fit but not perfect as there were fluctuations in the death that are impossible to duplicate. The result is very listenable. The bit of Cryptical on the end was corrected with a straight line adjustment but it was pretty far gone...

Next, I used a very narrow notch filter around 3055 hz to remove an annoying whine. Then I used a light Continuous Noise filter to reduce some of the hiss from the Uher.

Assorted other gliches and problems were corrected to produce what I feel is the most listenable and complete version of this historic show yet.

All comments are welcome!"

2. These are the flaws noted by mvernon54@attbi for the cdr copies converted to shns
d1t3 ~5:38 music cuts (tape flip?)
d1t8 sounds like some of the opening notes were lost

3. Here are the comments in deadlists about this show:

"COMMENTS The master tape is incomplete, as the tapers' batteries were low. David Gans played the timed portion on KPFA, minus the That's It For The Other One suite which was recorded, but damaged by the battery problem. DeadBase XI reports that the taper remembers that the closer was Dancing In The Streets. It is possible that additional songs were played between the second Cryptical and Dancin'. There is a new circulating copy of 3/3/68 on CDR that is Steve Brown's Uher MAR>DAT>WAV>CDR, has the complete version of It Hurts Me Too, and the beginning of Cryptical Envelopment before the batteries finally do die. It Hurts Me Too & Cryptical Envelopment// were speed-corrected via DAL Card Delux.

Larry, an eyewitness writes: "i remember getting off the bus on haight street That spring day, pushing my way through the crowds to see what all the excitement was about (i didn't know- did anyone? -that the dead were parking a flat bed truck across haight street to play a free gig!) ...completely by accident, i got there (well, within a few hundred feet) just as they fired up the music...the bus came by and i was splattered like a bug on the windshield!!! .....the version of "dancing in the streets" (which, unfortunately, isn't on the tape) was not the "disco" version they came up with later, but a much stronger r&b/rocking tune....i never forgot that set....and, though mickey had been with the band for a while, it was news to me, since this was my first time seeing them (only one drummer on that first, imo, great album!"

RECORDING 60 A? Only Viola Lee Blues thru the first Cryptical circulates."


Reviewer: mzlizizaninja - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 3, 2016
Subject: Wish I was there...
...and grateful I can listen as if I were.
Reviewer: mickyrat - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 19, 2013
Subject: I love it.......
All from back in the '60. A mind-fuc* supreme!
Reviewer: njpg - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 4, 2013
Subject: --
Considering the odds against this recording being any good at all, it is quite remarkably good. It is hard to get past how distorted the vocals are (marring much of Lovelight, for example), but the instruments are very clear with only some warmth added, & the show requires little or no EQing to be a great listen. Sweet Viola Lee. Very poignant historical interest.
Reviewer: Evan S. Hunt - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 4, 2013
Subject: Didn't Stay For The Whole Thing
Paul, Larry, Chris and I drove in Larry's primer grey 58 Chevy from Lafayette that day -- as we were wont to do on Sundays back in those times -- if it wasn't to Speedway Meadows, it would be to Provo Park in Berkeley looking for a scene. Provo was closer to home, of course, but there wasn't anything happening there so we moseyed over to the city. It was a nice day -- sunny and relatively warm.

We lucked out and found an open parking space on Oak Street about three blocks away and started walking over to Haight Street. As we got closer we notice a swarming crowd gathering and before long the Dead began playing. It was a riot in the making. The place was choked with traffic. It was totally crazy but yet somewhat typical for a Sunday afternoon in the Haight, which, though on the decline, was packed every weekend.

We got within about 50 feet from stage and watched the band gyrate through most of their short set. I do not recall which song they were on we when left, but leave we did -- it got too crowded and we were not troupers.

Don't really remember anything special about the music but that it was pretty much their same old same old and it was VERY loud. All things considered, this is an excellent recording. If this is from the Uher 4400 it's not too unusual. The Uher was a fine field tape recorder. What is unusual is that the taper had the nerve to take it down to Haight Street. Wow. That takes guts. The Uher is a hearty device but if you dropped it you'd be in trouble. They were hard to repair. Seems you had to just about send them back to Germany to get them fixed. Plus, they were small enough to yank out of someone's hand. That someone recorded this show on one of them is a marvel in itself and my hat is surely off to taper Steve Brown. One just didn't drag an expensive tape recorder into a crowded street in 1968. Well, at least, not without an armed cadry surrounding you.

Have to tell you that the Grateful Dead playing right there for free on Haight Street near the Straight Theater was not that stellar of an event for 1968. We were not surprised by the makeshift appearance. Indeed so matter-of-fact that we did not feel especially grieved at leaving early. I certainly do now!

Seems like the old saying that you don't know what you have until it's gone is more than plenty enough true. Geez, I have taken one more thing for granted. I should be forced to listening to gangsta rap as punishment.

Never figured out it was an impromptu gig. In fact, I never figured it out until years later when a photograph was printed on the album cover of Live Dead. In subsequent years I have finally been clued in as to how it all came about -- complete with crossbowing Haight Street with a flatbed truck and stringing extension cords from out of people's houses. Wow! Unbelievable.
Reviewer: doug_the_dude - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 3, 2013
Subject: LBJ is lookin' for me!
sound quality?!? Really??? Seriously, this is an amazing historical document, and I think it sounds absolutely fine by *any* AUD standard at this time. There is an impossible voodoo here, given the setting and such, to analyze this show purely for the state of the performance, but I'm pretty sure it's a great one. Check out the Viola meltdown. However, this is Pigpen's show all the way. It would have been cool to hear that Dancin' closer!

5 stars all the way.
Reviewer: Oldneumanntapr - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 28, 2013
Subject: Thank You Steve!
This incredible show was discussed in the 'Grateful Tapers' article from the January 1988 edition of Audio Magazine. According to the article, Steve Brown was in the Navy and was responsible for making tapes for the on-board entertainment systems of Navy ships stationed in the Pacific. Steve, who had seen the Warlocks in Palo Alto in 1965, took a Navy Uher reel to reel and snuck it into Winterland to record Cream the night of March 2nd, 1968. (The article listed the model as a 'Uher 440', but that was probably a typo and the deck was most likely a Uher 4400.) He heard that the Dead were playing free on Haight Street the next day so he used the remaining battery power to record four songs, on a 5-inch reel at 3 & 3/4 ips. Thankfully he was there to document this historical show on, what must have been, high-end recording equipment of the time.
Reviewer: Darlindee - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 17, 2012
Subject: I WAS THERE
I was living in an apartment on the corner of Cole St. and Haight St. I think it was 615 Cole St. I had a little pantry in my kitchen with a ladder that went to the roof. I remember the flatbed truck . I went up on the roof and listened and watched. I was a little 20 year old little hippie girl. Had a blast!
Reviewer: ms42466 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 16, 2012
Subject: wow 68 haight !
Reviewer: tomrutland65 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 16, 2012
Subject: I found some video of this event Dead - Viola Lee Blues 1968-03-03 Footage

it's incomplete but includes the pix from this historic day as's a nice relic!
Reviewer: joach55 - - September 11, 2012
Subject: reminder of why I once cared
this reminds me why I once cared about the GD and how they shaped my conception of what music could be. excitement, drive, surprise, and an indispensable member (RM) still alive and on duty. no rating because...I just don't.
Reviewer: mikemet - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 20, 2012
Subject: new breeders of the purple dust
Im not new breed but I would think anybody coming to the 68 section is searching for something good and hopefully not SBDs. Im not sure how people do their research- but this is ROOTS- the bus came by and I got on thats when it all began

Ron I miss you.
Reviewer: darkstarcrashes_79 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 5, 2012
Subject: new breed
you'd probably call me a new fer sure but don't care this shit right here in my ear just totally rips i'd have given my right arm to hear Viola live in person and the sound quality c'mon its 68 and with that it in mind it totally rips too by the way didn't see my first till 12/1/79 and saw 302 after but anyway gotta give it a 4.5
Reviewer: aybesea69 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 22, 2011
Subject: What's The Problem?
The new breed of Deadhead cracks me up. They've become so spoiled by soundboards and masters that they can't tell a special tape when it comes along. Yes this one is a little rough, but it's entirely listenable... and it's incredibly important from a histroical perspecitive. A must add (and actually a really good AUD for how old it is).
Reviewer: rschwz28 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 25, 2011
Subject: History
This is historically VERY important. The tunings, 'politics', announcements, etc. are must listens.
Reviewer: zkwp - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 27, 2009
Subject: Historical Signif
In his book "Searching For the Sound," Phil calls this show the epitome of all the free concerts they ever played, more for the community sense. In less than three months, all of the band was out of the Haight. Truly great show thanks to a sympathetic police officer, and the good people with the power cords at the Starlight.
Reviewer: L. Rosley - favoritefavoritefavorite - February 6, 2009
Subject: Piece of History
Thanks to the reviewers below for the historical information on this. What a wonderful event it must have been. What a great way for the Dead to leave the Haight – the gift of a free show. Of course, they never completely left the city. They continued to play a lot of San Francisco gigs throughout 1968. (The Straight Theater at Haight and Cole was torn down—it’s now a Goodwill store with apartments.)

The Haight was going downhill at the time, but there is another reason for the move: They were beginning to make some money. They had gigs all the time and their first album was number 1 in San Francisco. They weren’t millionaires, but were comfortable, and living in the cramped house together on Ashbury had probably gotten old.

We are indeed very lucky to have this recording. But from what we have of the show, it is not as good as the shows they were playing at time, particularly the brilliant run of February shows (including 2/3, 2/14, and 2/23-24 Kings Beach Bowl, DP vol 22). Viola Lee is the best song of this show, with some nice jamming. Pigpen is great on Smokestack, but the band is a bit repetative—they hadn’t played it publicly in a year. (Check out Smokestack from 11-19-66!) Pigpen is also strong on Lovelight, but towards, Bob takes over from Pigpen, and it is not pretty. (Bob also did Lovelights in the late 1980’.)

Definitely not a bad show, though. What as scene it must have been at Haight and Cole.
Reviewer: kboyxxx - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 7, 2009
Subject: Sweet
As sweet as the dougnut shop that was on Haight street that I worked in. Right next to the Straight theater .
Man Wish I was there right now.
Reviewer: martinzimmer13 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 27, 2008
I'm a German, born in '67, never made it to the US, came to like the GD around '90, only saw them live once (Frankfurt '90), now assembling mostly all I can tip my fingers on...
and it started with this show - I learned years later! The first tune I heard was 'Bertha' from the skull&roses album, demonstrated to me by a then-close friend,and then he showed me the LIVEDEAD double LP (remember Vinyl?)...until now I cannot forget about the picture at the inner sleeve, showing the band on a truck, standing cross a street and playing to an incredible crowd filling every inch of the asphalt...
It's been almost 20 years ago, I saw this picture, but I never forgot it. Every time when I listen to GD music, this picture remains in my head, and thanks to the ARCHIVE and all the good ghosts behind this special tape, I (even in this very second!) am able to listen to the sounds produced on this historic moment - PRAISE!
Sound quality is not so well, but what the ... (ya know).
Reviewer: magicastles - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 5, 2008
Subject: Viola Lee Blues on the street in yr face
The little hook Garcia repeats around the 16:00 min mark, after the jam, is SO smooth, I could listen to it forever! It gets in my head when I'm walking.. Gnarly sound, glad the batteries made it for a while...
Reviewer: Chris U. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 21, 2007
Subject: My Theory
When PigPen died, I think a part of Bob Weir's balls died, too.
Reviewer: sinceamelia3 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 10, 2006
Subject: The Best Of the DEAD
To me this show is part of why i came to love the Grateful Dead. As i was flipping through my book, "Grateful Dead The Illustrated Trip" I came across this show. Someone asked for history, and although I am not the taper or even from this generation, I would like to qoute this book. This is the passage, "The Haight Street Free Concert - The Grateful Dead played a lot of 'free' often spontaneous, concerts in the Haight-Ashbury years-though the term 'free' seems somehow inappropriate given the band's ethos and the general zeigeist of the time and place. This shos is remembered most fondly of all, largely because it has become regarded as the band's goodbye to the Haight, and because, after the ravages of the summer of love, magic could still happen. The concert came about after a nasty dust-up between hippies and cops two weeks earlier. Hoping to ease the tensions, the city proclaimed a 'street festival' for March 3, with the streets of Haight closed to traffic. It was an opportunity the band wasn't about to pass up. Playing atop a flatbed truck with the power tapped from Strait Theatre, the boys kicked off with 'Viola Lee Blues' and as the first notes crackeled, the poeple began to gather until the streets ( and stoops, and roof tops) were packed. 'Vioala' was followed by 'Smokestack Lightning' 'Turn On Your Lovelight' 'It Hurts Me Too,' and naturally 'Dancin in the street'. A good summary of the event and a great book. Enjoy your Dead brothers and sisters. By the way, to me sound quality is less of a concern then the feeling I get.
Reviewer: yippierb - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 29, 2005
Subject: Cudos to Steve B.
I would love to know the story behind this taping. Steve!? If your still out there, 38 years later, give us a blow by blow.
Reviewer: Gallium - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 27, 2005
bobby sings the last verse on lovelight, and it is the best verse he ever put out on that song. Download for the lovelight alone.

4 for sound quality
Reviewer: KyleFassbinder - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 15, 2005
Subject: Family was there
My dad was in a commune called the "Good Earth". They helped set up the equipment and were frequent helpers for The Dead, The Airplane and The Quicksilver Messanger Service.
Reviewer: Jwo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 5, 2005
Subject: I cant wait
I have yet listen i am downloading it now. This was not an illegal shut down of the Haight. The city shut it down to show some peace after a riot ensued on the street a few days before. The band thought it would be a nice venue and set it up. No permits though. Phil in his new book talks about how this was the last of the great SF experiences after this the band headed out of town for good.
Reviewer: skwimite - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 28, 2005
Subject: O Pioneers
Having become a SBD snob, this one really takes the prize for audience recording. The sound isn't that great, but you get used to it after awhile, and the band is really on fire. The fact that this was recorded at all, is quite amazing. Great playing trumps sound quality. Wary of giving it 5 stars, but out of deference to the pioneer who made this, 5 it is.
Reviewer: Garcia87 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 6, 2004
Subject: The Flatbed Truck show
I agree this is not the best quailty but its great to have a recording of this important show in dead history. It really makes you want to be there. DL it now you wont be sorry!
Reviewer: auggie - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 6, 2004
Subject: Famous Tape
This gets ***** for effort alone. According to the Taping Compendium this tape was made by a forward thinking hippie named Steve Brown. He used an old Uher with a cheap mike he stuck up over the crowd. He thought it was important to document history and we should be glad he did.

This gig is famous for the illegal shutting down of Haight St., the pictures, and this tape. The Dead thought it was a nice sunny day so they drove a flatbead truck into the middle of the street to play an impromto free show. How many bands have even thought about doing something like this? There are 2 famous pictures one is from behind the band where you can see the whole street covered with people and the one of Garcia walking through the assembled crowd as if he is just a normal guy going to play his guitar. As far as the tape, well taking into consideration the other 2 aspects I mentioned it's nice to have a document of this event. It's mono and it's not great sonically but you get what it was like to be there this important day.
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 25,770
favorite 47
comment 23
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 23 reviews )
Source: Soundboard
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 17,021
favorite 15
comment 11
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 11 reviews )
Source: Audience
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 33,595
favorite 30
comment 18
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 18 reviews )
Source: Audience
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 69,162
favorite 127
comment 54
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 54 reviews )
Source: Soundboard
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 63,373
favorite 103
comment 42
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 42 reviews )
Source: Soundboard
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 20,148
favorite 39
comment 11
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 11 reviews )
Source: Soundboard
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 56,185
favorite 107
comment 30
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 30 reviews )
Source: Soundboard
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 7,707
favorite 3
comment 7
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 7 reviews )
Source: Audience Recording
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 27,644
favorite 20
comment 18
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 18 reviews )
Source: Audience
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 39,190
favorite 74
comment 36
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 36 reviews )
Source: Soundboard